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Wednesday 16th March 2022 – AFTER THE OTHER NIGHT’s …

… disaster I remembered to take that pill and decided that I would stay awake and work until I felt really tired.

The wisdom of that idea was quite apparent when it was 02:00 and I was still awake and at the computer.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that at 07:30 when the alarm went off I managed to fall out of bed. Definitely a case of “shaken but not stirred”.

And that became apparent when I came back in here after the medication where, settling down in my comfy chair, I went to sleep again. And that’s how I stayed until 09:00

Part of the morning, once I was properly awake, concerned organising the music again. I had to make a new playlist for one of my batches of music for a start, and then there was some sound files that needed chopping up.

There are dozens of those and the first one proved to be far more difficult than anyone might imagine because after the first 5 tracks, the rest of it doesn’t go in accordance with the running order that I have. In the end after much binding in the marsh, I abandoned that and did three different ones.

That leaves me with about 30 to do. A mere bagatelle.

Something else that I’ve been doing is to run through another pile of photos from th High Arctic in August 2019. And if anyone thinks that they are having problems with prices in the shops these days, then HAVE A LOOK AT THESE in Qikiqtarjuaq, an island in the Davis Strait between the far North of Canada and Greenland.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me glad at times that I don’t live in the High Arctic and I feel sorry for those who do. And my hat goes off to the girl whom I met in Edmonton in 2018 and subsequently on several occasions who threw up her life in Montréal to go and live among the Inuit on Baffin Island

We had the usual interruptions for breakfast (and my coffee machine, while not perfect, is a vast improvement on the old one) and for lunch. I even spent some time having a little sort-out in the kitchen.

But don’t worry – it was only a little one. These new pills aren’t working that well.

As well as that, I sent off an order to Amazon. I need a new course book for the next lot of Welsh lessons, and while I was at it, I ordered a new dictaphone identical to the one that broke down a couple of months ago.

It served me well for a considerable number of years and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Using the ZOOM H1 is too inconvenient when it comes to playing back. Of course I copy it onto the computer to listen to it but it needs a lot of enhancement in order to be able to hear it.

There was also a pause for a shower, and then I wandered off out for my rendezvous with the physiotherapist.

lorry with trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen quite often one of the main problems that arises when you live in a walled city – big stuff can’t pass through the gateways and has to trns-ship.

We’ve seen on many occasions this lorry (or one very much like it) and its trailer with the digger on board parked up at the Porte St Jean whenever there’s road work to be carried out within the walls

It has to stop here and the driver has to drive the digger off and through into the town under its own steam to get where it’s going and that’s not the work of five minutes either. But there’s no other solution unfortunately – at least, one that’s practical.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You didn’t notice it in the previous photo because I enhanced it but I’ve not enhanced this one, so you’ll notice the rather strange, eerie yellowy-green light.

There’s a dust storm blowing up from the Sahara and it arrived at my friend’s in Munich yesterday late afternoon. But now it’s arrived here and we’re having it. It’s certainly a strange effect.

However, returning to the subject-matter of the photo, the tide is well out at the moment and there are no fishing boats moored up at the Fish Processing Plant.

And there aren’t any ferries at the ferry terminal either. They must be all at sea this afternoon, just like I seem to be these days. But at least they’ll be back sometime soon, which is more that I will.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down at the loading bay in the port there’s a pile of freight that’s accumulated on the quayside.

That tells us that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming in within the next day or two to whisk it all away.

And no large masts in the harbour either. That tells us that Marité is still in Cherbourg having her annual check-over ready to start work for the summer season.

By now it was starting to rain – enough to dampen my enthusiasm but not enough to dampen the spirits of the boulonauts who carried on playing. It’ll take more than a torrential downpour to stop them from playing.

renewing road surface abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had yet more activity taking place.

That’s the site of the old railway branch (you can still see the rails) that used to go to the cold store where they used to keep the cod that the trawlers brought into port when fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland was still undertaken.

Nowadays it’s a short-cut for pedestrians but at the moment it looks as if they are resurfacing it. I wonder what it will look like when they finish it.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapists was just as good as it was on Monday. And once more she had me on the couch massaging my patella with her electric machine. And then I had some exercises to do.

But the knee doesn’t seem to be strengthening and the left knee now seems to be hurting. I hope that the doctor can see something on the x-rays about which he can do something.

brick capping rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain still pouring down, I walked through the completely deserted town centre and back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

When I reached the place where they had been repairing the wall, I had a look at the brick capping that they put on top a good few months ago.

There is still no pointing in between the bricks and the moisture that will penetrate will destroy the capping if there’s any frost to freeze it.

Mind you, by the look of things, winter is a thing of the past. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we haven’t had a winter this year, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll have another one ever again at the rate that things are going.

le coelacanthe trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now, the tide is much further in.

A big bunch of the smaller boats with shallow draught is down there at the Fish Processing Plant, all unloading their catch with the various vans and lorries of the owners waiting to take away the harvest.

Behind them, a few of the larger ones are waiting for the gates into the inner harbour to open so that they can go in. We can of course recognise Coelacanthe, the green and white trawler with the gold stripe.

There is even a trawler moored up at the ferry terminal out of everyone else’s way as the rush begins.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain that was falling, I was all ready to rush home. But there was one thing that I needed to do first.

But it didn’t really matter because there was no-one down there on the beach. And that’s no surprise because I wouldn’t have been out there in this weather had I not had to.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone.

War had broken out so they were arming the island on which Zero lived with battleships and things like that. My father noticed and made some kind of comment and I replied but I can’t remember what I said but it was basically to do with the fact that we are all in this together. And here’s another voyage in which Zero was involved and I can’t remember how or why. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on, everyone was getting their stuff out ready to welcome the Ukrainian refugees. One lot that was to come hadn’t come so the people who were waiting to show them their way threw all of their paintwork and the Ukrainian flag into the hedge back on someone else’s land. This caused a lot of problems and they had to prepare the stuff again. It turned out then that someone still had the stuff wrong even though the gates were now open. They were going around in yellow and blue even though they had nothign to do with the situation in the Ukraine.

Finally I was with my brother and someone else. I was supposed to be going outside but it was raining. I took some hot water with me anyway and poured it into the bath but I just lay down and curled up under a blanket or quilt any old how. I wasn’t interested at all in anything. The water was going cold and I was asleep under this quilt. The 2 of them walked past so I gave them a wave and curled up back underneath my blanket again. A little later I was climbing up this hill. There were loads of buses and coaches full of all kinds of children heading down the hill. It looked as if it was like a Sunday School outing or something. I got to where I was supposed to be going. I had some clothes baskets with me. I was going to do someone’s washing. I put down the baskets and the dog moved them so I told it to bring the baskets back. To my surprise, it did. That was quite amusing for both me and the woman who owned the dog when she realised exactly what had happened.

There was much more than this too but you really don’t want to know about it

There was no tea tonight as I had the first of my 5 revision lessons. Instead I grabbed an “unlabelled” frozen pie out of the freezer, defrosted it and warmed it up. To my surprise it turned out to be a vegan lentil pie. There are two more slices of that in the freezer so now that I know what they are I’ll have another tomorrow with potatoes, veg and gravy.

The Welsh lesson was something of a disaster. We were 14 students and the aim was to put us in pairs to chat about topics that the tutor gave us, and then to swap around after 20 minutes. And I’m just dismayed about how much I don’t know and how much I’ve forgotten.

Now i’m off to bed. I have two days with no interruptions so I need to get a move on and hope that no-one interrupts me and I can crack on with work. After last night, I need a good sleep.

If you aren’t tired, you can WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS of last night’s football. And there was so much that they have cut out half of them, which is a shame.

Wednesday 26th January 2022 – I HAD A …

… lovely tea tonight, I really did.

Steamed vegetables with vegan veggie balls all tossed in a really nice thick vegan cheese sauce. And for a change the vegetables were cooked to perfection and it really was delicious. I loved every mouthful of it.

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Breakfast was pretty wonderful too.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d finished the last of the Christmas cake, and what a success that was! Even the icing hardened off after a week or so.

Unfortunately the banana and molasses cake had gone the Way of the West over the last four weeks that it had been standing idle, and so I made another batch of fruit buns first thing this morning after the medication and these have worked really well yet again

It’s just a simple 250-gramme bread recipe but with only 2/3rd water and a very ripe banana mixed in, along with sunflower seeds, dried fruit of all kinds and varieties, desiccated coconut and about 100 grammes of brazil nuts ground into rather a coarse flour.

Of coarse … “he means “of course”” – ed … there will have to be some coarseness involved if I’m doing something, won’t there?

Not much last night though. After the heady and turbulent nights that I’ve had in the recent past with Zero, Castor, TOTGA and a few other of my favourite young ladies coming to join me in my nocturnal rambles for hours and hours on end, last night brought me down to earth with a bump. A guy a know from way back when and I were rewiring a car somewhere using bits of wire but there was a whole wiring harness from another scrap car and I was cutting a whole length of wire out of it (and the times that I’ve done that too in real life!). Someone asked me what I was doing so I explained. They were a bit upset thinking that I’d been doing it in a different way but it seemed pretty reasonable to me. Then I could remember that my father could get hold of wire as well so I told my friend that we were using wire with a blue and grey trace but we could get from my father some yellow and grey trace for it and maybe we should go down there. He asked what time my father was working so I could explained. he said that if I get down there to Church Lawton I could take the car because there’s a misfire that needs sorting out and we can pick up some wire while we’re there. Of course I wondered if he was actually going to be out there and be the one to bring me back. We had a discussion about that but I can’t really remember where we went to after that.

Added to this was that some girl was involved in this but I can’t remember why. There was also something about why were we using this black wire with different-coloured tracing in it when we could have had any-coloured wire from anywhere to do the job and the more wire with higher contrast in it the better.

And what was he doing putting in an appearance in my nocturnal rambles? He was one of these people who had a very volatile character and while we had something of a working relationship back in the 70s and early 80s it fell apart dramatically on 2 occasions, the second time for good.

And if you think that that’s interesting, you ain’t seen nuffink yet. I was taxi-driving last night, going down Market Street and then up the bank in Middlewich Street. There was some excitement when a couple of boys on bikes were blocking my path. I got rid of them. Just then I heard a voice cry “Eric!”. I turned round and it was someone on a moped. The name “Frank” came into my head so I said “hello Frank”. Then I realised that it wasn’t so I said “it’s not Frank, it’s Pete”. He used to be the landlord of a couple of pubs in Crewe but had had some severe mental health issues. I asked him what he was doing now and he replied that he was working as a family counsellor. He was off the drink and had himself properly organised, all this kind of thing. We had quite a chat. I asked where he was living. He said he was living with his aunt, or his mother, or someone else who had a motorbike but they were constantly rowing about things but staying together. Then he said “you’ll remember (a girl’s name) “. I looked and there was a girl there. “Last time you saw her, she was a tiny baby” so I looked and asked “how old are you now?”. “11” she replied but she was quite big for 11 so we had a chat and I had a hug which was very nice and we all started to chat about the old days.

And why did he become involved in my travels too? He was someone who lost his town-centre pub due to a redevelopment project and they transferred him to a different kind of pub on a decaying housing estate and his character didn’t suit the locals at all. The last I heard of him, 40 years ago, he was having some really serious and tragic problems and I haven’t heard a word or even thought about him since.

The reason why there wasn’t as much going on during the night as there has been just recently is probably because I didn’t go to bed until almost 02:00. After crashing out so dramatically yesterday I wasn’t in the least bit tired. But when you have an 07:30 start in the morning, there isn’t much time for voyaging.

There had also been my first nocturnal challenge too – and that was changing the batteries in the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep and the net result of my experiences is that I’m going to replace my ancient Sony with like-for-like. I can change those batteries in my sleep with no problem.

After the meds I made my fruit buns and then after breakfast I carried on going backwards through the journal to update it to include the missing journeys and photos.

At 12:30 I ground to a halt and went for a shower, followed by lunch. And the pain in my jaw has eased considerably over the last couple of days so I tried some sandwiches instead of soup. And that worked fine today.

Later on I went off and parked Caliburn on the street outside Lidl and walked down for my physiotherapy session. And the exercises that she’s had me doing, I can feel the difference between my left knee and the bad right one. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve broken both my knees once and the right one a second time in motorcycle accidents in my teenage years.

And then the right one a third time in a skiing accident in the 1970s – and next day drove my old BMC HALF-TON VAN all the way back to Winsford from Inverness and it’s not an automatic.

That van, known as “Bill Badger”, could tell a few stories, and you’ve heard a few of them, Alison.

It’s a good job that I went in Caliburn to the physiotherapist because I had a funny turn in Lidl – a week of inactivity hasn’t been kind to me by the looks of things.

The bill in Lidl was enormous, but seeing as I haven’t been shopping for almost 3 weeks it’s not a surprise. But they did have these tactile glove on offer again and they are great for photography in the winter, if I ever get back to the High Arctic, which these days is looking more and more unlikely until I learn to sail.

On the steps I bumped into my neighbour from up above and we had a chat, then I came in here to put away the frozen food, make a coffee and collapse into a chair. That was hard work.

Now that tea is over and the washing up done, I’m off to bed. Despite my bad night I’ve kept going all day which is good news but I still can’t motivate myself. maybe a good sleep might recharge the batteries, but I dunno.

And in any case, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day and I wouldn’t exchange any of that for anything else – except if it were to happen in real life.

But fat chance of that.

Saturday 1st January 2022 – HAPPY NEW YEAR

Here’s hoping that 2022 will be a far better year than 2021. Although today’s figure of almost 220,000 infections seems to suggest that the worst is yet to come.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s this kind of thing that’s responsible for the incredible rate of increase in infections.

Having seen the swarms of people at the station 2 weeks ago ready to bring the virus out to the provinces and the seaside resorts, seeing people congregating like this without any kind of facemask or protection whatever will spread it like widfire.

The figures of infections and the rising numbers of deaths is well in the public domain and I really don’t know what it will take for people to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

But I console myself with the idea that if they don’t want to wear a mask, then nature will take care of them, as it usually does.

It didn’t take much care of me last night though.

It was about 03:00 when I finally went to bed. And it was about the first year since I don’t know when when I haven’t been out for a prowl around the town at midnight. I’m really not “with it” at all right now.

11:00 was a pretty good time to raise myself from the dead on a Bank Holiday despite the fact that I had been awake on numerous occasions during the night. That much is evident by the amount of voyages that I undertook during the night. I started off at a rugby match at a girls’ school and there were loads of girls there, like a couple whom I know from here and there and there was one who immediately sprang to my mind. They were playing rugby against another school. I had some of them sitting beside me and the rest were out on the field, swapping over now and again as you do. The one in particular who was in a really nice cape to keep warm who really caught my eye about all this.

And later we were back again for the third time (what happened to the second time?) with these girls and all my favourite girls were they. Saying that what an effective fighting force they would make and they would worry most men if they started getting going

Later still I was in Leclerc again shopping and all of the girls from somewhere that I couldn’t decipher were walking down the corridor behind where all of the tills are. So fancy meeting them again, and I wish that I could work out where they were from!

Meanwhile TOTGA was having problems and her car was being repossessed, a dark blue Austin 1100 and so were her other cars, including the Vanden Plas Princes that I used to own (which I still do in real life of course). She was distraught. We’d been to a dance of some sort, a group of us. There had been a flare somewhere so she and everyone else dashed out to their cars to go to help out at this fire. She ended up with her car on fire but she was still driving. An ambulance had taken a short cut, come out of a side road into the main road and hit her. It wasn’t badly damaged so the ambulance sped on its way but TOTGA ended up going to the wrong house and fighting the wrong fire. Later on we were all in a night club and she wanted to plug in some electric but all the plugs were wrong. In the end she brought an adaptor. She said that other people had used this adaptor to plug whatever it was into the mains but it was totally the wrong type. She said that what they did was to hold it against the contacts in the wall. I tried that but I had blue sparks and shocks everywhere so she agreed that it wasn’t a good idea. However it fused all of the power in the power circuit, not the light circuit. The disco ground to a halt so I thought that we had better go as this will cause a load of problems in a moment. We went outside and she came out a little later carrying a fuel can that was on fire. I shouted “put it down! Put it down!” which eventually she did. She came over and got into her car, this blue 1100. Just as we were about to set off she noticed that coming round the corner was a boy she knew from school. “Oh God! Should I tell him that this car is restored? Shall I tell him … what shall I tell him?”. Just then I let out the clutch and hit the kerb with the car. I thought “Oh God! It’s not my day either, is it?”. Then we drove off.

We eventually ended up in a night club. There was a group of us there with Jools Holland on saxophone and flute etc. I was playing the bass, piano and guitar. However, by now I was with Castor. We were playing the same music and she was full of despair about something. I was trying my best to cheer her up. Then we had to go on the stage – Duke Ellington announced us. It was an old blues number. Sometimes we played it in a contemporary fashion, sometimes we didn’t and I couldn’t remember what kind of fashion we were going to play it in tonight –

We were back on the orphanage (whichever orphanage we were in before, wherever it was) and one of the girls got up to sing and play a musical instrument, the one with glasses. She’d been all wired up to the electricity somehow and cables everywhere but the computer completely spoiled her voice. I was there with Castor. She was very upset about something but I can’t remember. Then the entertainment started. It was another girl singing, again all wired up to the mains and so on. She wasn’t much good and I was thinking “Castor should really be up there singing with all of these”.

Later still I was on my way to Canada on holiday with someone and I had to stop and pick up some money. I pulled up at the bank that I knew. It was just 09:00 and it was opening but there would be a delay as the time lock doesn’t open until 09:10 to take the money out of the safe, which was quite surprising but that’s Canada for you. So I went in. It was a little Asian girl whom I know and she was telling me all about the stresses and strains she was under. I took her in my arms and gave her a hug. We had a bit of a chat and everything but then I had to prepare to leave. There was lots more to this but I can’t remember it because I awoke in the middle of it but it was one of these dreams that I wished would go on for ever.

Next morning it was New Year’s Day and prize-making time so we sent four girls, one of whom was the blonde-haired girl whom I happened to like quite a lot to get the prize ready and everything organised. While I was watching her, one or two of them came up to me for a chat but I can’t remember anything more now about this.

Yes, it was certainly interesting last night. Stepping out of dreams and back into them later, appearances by both TOTGA and Castor, what else would I need? Apart from Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter of course. I just wish that last night could have gone on for ever.

But using the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep is … errr … challenging, and the recoding quality of the built-in microphone is appalling. I had to make a considerable amount of editing before I could even hear what I had dictated and it took me almost all of the day.

Brunch was very appetising, with my potato fritters, baked beans and vegan sausage followed by toast and mushroom paté with buckets full of hot black coffee. I really enjoyed that today.

There was a pause from my exertions with the dictaphone for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The first place to visit is of course the beach to see what’s happening there.

Although there won’t be very mcuh beach at all, given the state of the tide, I was still expecting to see hordes of people down there today, given what we had seen over the last couple of days.

But I was to be disappointed. It was really quite quiet down there. In fact I couldn’t actually see anyone down there today, which was a great surprise. Not even anyone going up and down the steps to the Rue du Nord.

buoy baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was looking down onto the beach I was also keeping an eye out in the bay to see what was happening there.

There wasn’t a boat of any description at all down there, but there was something out there that attracted my attention. It’s a yellow buoy of the type which we have seen before and relates, I think, to the yacht club over at Coudeville-Plage. But what it signifies I have no idea at all.

No-one on the beach or on the sea, but there were crowds wandering around mask-less on the path around the headland. So I set off to join them on my way down to the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So apart from all of the people down there at the end of the headland, what else was going on out there?

No fishing boats this afternoon because they are all still on holiday, but we did have a couple of yachts and what looks like a couple of zodiacs swanning around in the bay. When I was crossing over the car park on my way to the end of the headland I noticed them.

So there are some people out there who are making the most of the nice afternoon. I watched them for a minute or so and then carried on with my walk across the car park to the end of the path.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Earlier on with my notes I mentioned the hordes of people standing on the rocks by the bench at the cabanon vauban.

When I first saw them I wondered what it was that they were watching that had attracted their attention. When I had a good look, I couldn’t see anything particular but I did notice the beautiful sunset.

It was making a nice glossy streak of light all the way across the bay towards where I was standing. It was the kind of view that we see quite often at this time of year and it’s still quite magical even though we have seen it on several occasions.

And leaving it there to set even lower I carried on along the path on the other side of the headland towards home and my hot coffee.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, Joly France was moored up at the ferry terminal.

She’s the older one of the two, without the step in the stern. The other one is moored up with Belle France and Chausiaise in the inner harbour.

There were plenty of people walking around over there on the harbour wall too this afternoon and again, from what I can see, there were no facemasks over there either. I wonder what I’ll do when I find people wearing facemasks … “Find something else to moan about, I shouldn’t wonder” – ed.

sunset baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I had a look over my shoulder to see what was happening behind me.

Although the sunset streaming through the clouds was nothing like as impressive as it has been just recently, it was illuminating the Brittany coast and in particular the town of Cancale like something out of a film set.

Back at the apartment I had the coffee that was waiting for me, along with a mince pie (I still have a couple left) and then carried on with my dictaphone notes.

Tea tonight was another Christmas dinner with all kinds of steamed veg, roast potatoes and seitan slices. And so tomorrow there will be more leeks and sprouts to freeze, although where I’m going to put them is something else completely. There isn’t even half an inch of room.

But that’s for tomorrow. Right now, late as it is, I’m off to bed. It’s Sunday tomorrow so I can have yet another lie in.

Monday 8th November 2021 – GUESS WHO …

… has just dropped his rice and veg down the sink?

So we ended up with not very much for tea this evening. Mind you, it’ll do me good for once in a while.

There has however been some good news. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m having heart problems right now.

2 weeks ago I went to see the cardiologist who checked me over, found that I still had a heart (which means that I’m not a Conservative) but it has a few problems.

He gave me a report that I scanned and sent off to the hospital in Leuven, on the grounds that if I’m going to have another major health issue, it makes much more sense to have them both treated at the same place to avoid complications.

Anyway, they have now replied. And they’ve offered me an appointment earlier on the same day that I have my usual treatment in 10 days time. So they obviously think that there’s something worth following up.

This morning’s 06:00 start was rather painful seeing that I didn’t take full advantage of the night in bed that I had.

But after the medication and checking my mails and messages I attacked the radio programme that I wanted to prepare. And by 10:50 it was up and running. I could even have finished it earlier except that for a while I was talking to someone on the internet about something or other.

And that included a break for coffee and for breakfast too.

It was the old ZOOM H1 that I used too, not the new ZOOM H8. I’ve not as yet worked out how to record in stereo with just one mike on that.

While I was listening to the finished product I was doing some research. I’ve received a pile of paperwork relating to our family history and I’ve been going through it.

And if anyone wonders why my mother’s side of the family (including me) is so … errr … combative, it seems that somewhere in our family tree we are related to EDWARD KENEALY of TICHBOURNE CLAIMANT fame, or rather, infamy.

One thing that I’ve been doing as well today is to attack the dictaphone backlog, and another few days from late October have now been updated.

While I was at it, I had a go at last night’s voyages too. There was some kind of machinery or equipment used in connection with my health. I posted something about it and someone posted back that it was ridiculous, that this didn’t exist. I had to go through all this rigmarole to prove that it did and how I was supposed to use it because of my health

Later on there was some guy who had a mine of some description. He had a girlfriend and she and her father went off to look at this mine leaving the guy and his two friends like Bulldog Drummond behind. When they didn’t come back at the end of the day he started to become worried and decided that next morning he would set out to the mine to look for them. Next morning instead there was a press release that this woman considered that he’d been exploiting her and that she was now assuming control of the mine. It was necessary for him to infiltrate this circle of people with whom she was now working. He and one of his friends arranged to disappear and the disappearance became headline news. The 3 of them set off for this hotel where everyone was staying. When they arrived they found that it was some kind of show with cheerleaders or something. They found a cheerleader uniform and dressed in it as girls, but found another group who had exactly the same uniform. They waylaid a couple of girls, borrowed their uniforms and went on to do a kind-of dance routine. One of them lost her dress so quickly the 2nd one had to drag her away and lock her in a room somewhere. This guy couldn’t understand why he was being treated like that. His friend explained to him that with the scientist being missing, he couldn’t go around identifying himself as who he was even if it was simply over the case of a missing dress because everyone would immediately put two and two together, knowing everyone’s relationship wtth each other and immediately guess what was going on. It was very important for them to remain anonymous for as long as possible.

Somewhere in all of this I was fostering a kitten, a tabby and white one. Someone came to see me and saw the kitten. When I went to bed the kitten came and got into bed with me but it got up again, ate some food and wouldn’t settle after that

Later on I was back in Virlet and, surprisingly, back with the kitten. There had been a big rainstorm and a lot of the houses were flooded. Mine was OK. I came back from work, it was my last day at work. I opened the outer door but when I came inside I found that I had left the inner door open. I walked in and there was someone in there. She said “look what your kitten has got”. I had a look and the kitten had one of my bread buns. I said “it doesn’t really matter because it’s been here over a week now so it’s bound to be no good”. She put the kitten down and let the kitten run off with it. We were talking about voyages to space, the stars, saying that they need to be somewhere deep at the bottom of a deep quarry to launch the rocket. We were working out other suitable places. We thought that the Auvergne would be fine for that because it was so soggy that if you put a rocket on top of the ground somewhere it would just sink in and go down to any depth you like before you could fire it.

For some reason or other, the nurse never came round today to give me my injection. I changed the time from 15:00 to 12:00 so I can go for my physiotherapist for 15:30. He didn’t come at 12:00 and he never rang me later on to say that he was here at the normal time but had missed me.

courreur des iles charles marie lorries unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way out to the physiotherapist I went down to look at the port to see what was going on this afternoon.

What caught my eye were the two lorries over there unloading. I’m not sure what they were unloading but the old cold storage plant over there has been closed since cod-fishing on the Grand Banks was suspended in 1992.

There were a few of the charter boats down there this afternoon too. Charles Marie is moored up against the harbour wall, with Courreur des Iles moored alongside. There won’t be much going on with them now until maybe Christmas.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they had some work experience people out repointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They did half of it and then stopped, but today I noticed that there were scaffolders down there erecting scaffolding down alongside the part that they didn’t make a start laat time.

Perhaps we’re going to be having another lot of Work Experience people learning the trade. There’s plenty of work for them when they qualify, and not just around the city walls here in the medieval city. There are plenty of stone houses and walls that could benefit.

Once again I walked all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping. She had me on this tilting platform thing doing exercises to strengthen my knees and shoulders. We finished off with 5 minutes on the cross trainer.

It has to be said that i’m doing much better now than I was when I first came. But then that’s the point of the exercises, isn’t it?

place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Going back, I went the short way right down the Rue Couraye into the town centre.

The kiddies’ roundabout has now gone, and we aren’t sure if it’ll be coming back again. The owner was in front of the local council last Friday arguing his case about his roundabout, which is larger than he said in his planning application and which forces pedestrians to walk in the road.

He’s asked for a 12-month adjournment of the case to give him time to buy a slightly smaller machine and the council has offered him another site. They haven’t been able to agree a compromise so we’ll see how things develop over the next few days.

erecting christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, around the corner, the Rue Paul Poirier is closed to traffic.

They have a cherry picker out there and he’s busy putting up the Christmas lights. Unfortunately, they look just like the Christmas lights that they had last year and the year before that, and the year before that as well.

The lack of imagination that they show round here in respect of the Christmas decorations is dispiriting.

Once again, I made it all the way back up the hill to home without stopping once, which pleased me very much. I wonder if these heart tablets that the cardiologist prescribed are having some effect, or whether it’s the effect of the physiotherapy.

It’s still a struggle to make it up the hill and I don’t really feel comfortable while I’m doing it, but I have to do what I can.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went back into the building I went to have a look down on the beach.

Today the weather was cool, windy and overcast so even though there was plenty of beach down there, there weren’t all that many people down there on it. And I wasn’t surprised either.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a coffee and then attacked the photos from that rock concert the other day. There’s another huge pile of those that are now done.

What I’ll be doing will be to create three-column *.css layout to show the photos off. I’ll have to dig deep into my memory for that because it’s been probably not far short of 20 years since I was doing three-column *.css stuff.

Two-column stuff is quite easy because it’s either “align-left” or “align-right” and I use that all the time. But I’ll sort it out.

Tea was stuffed pepper with whatever rice and veg remained in the sieve after I’d finished pouring it into the sink. And it was quite nice too, what I was able to eat.

But now I’m finished my notes I’m off to bed. A nice long sleep, I hope, but if it’s anything like the last few weeks it’ll be a disappointment. I’m seriously considering sleeping pills if this carries on.

Monday 1st November 2021 – WHAT A DAY!

You might think that when I tell you that I finished my radio programme by 10:35 this morning, that I had set a new record. But unfortunately it wasn’t quite like that.

After yet another miserable night I sat bolt upright at 06:11 wondering why my alarm hadn’t gone off at 06:00. I fell out of bed, had my medication and dashed back to make a start with the radio programme.

And then, 40 minutes later when the alarm finally did go off, I was wondering what on earth was happening until I suddenly twigged. I hadn’t had a shower yesterday so I hadn’t plugged my fitbit into the computer to upload the data and synchronise itself.

Consequently it hadn’t adjusted to the change of the hour and I’d actually left my bed at 05:11

Making a start at such a time like that, I might even have finished a lot earlier too but today I decided that instead of using the ZOOM H1, I used the new ZOOM H8.

It is, as you might expect, much more complicated to set up and takes much longer to regulate but the quality is undoubtedly better. It was a really good experience to use it because it made sure that I understood how it worked and that I could produce some results from it.

However I won’t be using it again for my radio programmes – for the simple reason that to record in stereo I need to use two mikes and two channels otherwise it simply records in mono. The little Zoom records automatically in stereo.

Having done that, I had breakfast and then I had a few other things to do that took me right up to lunchtime – and my bread is absolutely delicious, just as I thought that it would be.

My bad day hasn’t quite finished yet either.

After lunch I put the heater on in the bathroom to warm it up ready for my shower and my general clean-up before going out for my physiotherapy session – and then I realised that today in France is a Bank Holiday and there is no physiotherapy today.

And with it being a Bank Holiday, I could have legitimately had a nice long lie-in instead of being up and about at that ridiculous time this morning.

Instead, I carried on with writing up Saturday’s journal entry, and listening to where I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin, who doesn’t figure in these notes half as often as she deserves, had paid me a flying visit. Instead of seeing her at the usual time I was having to see her at a different time. I came back from work, went to the canteen, had some lunch and went round to dump some stuff in her house. There were some people in there and she came and had cut her hair. It was just down to her shoulder blades and I felt very disappointed with that.

Later on I wanted to buy some shares so I had a cunning plan. To go to the Post Office, open a bank account and buy the shares at the Post Office and start to pay the dividends into that account. In the meantime that would enable me to close down one of my two accounts here in France. I arrived at the Post Office rather late and there was a queue right outside the door but I was seen quite quickly. I had to reduce my documentation which was a bit of a fumble. The guy found out that I already had an account there so the first part was quite easy and straightforward. Then he told me that they didn’t actually purchase shares – the office was somewhere else. It wasn’t in the locality where I had to go for them which was something of a disappointment. I should really have done this at the bank. I was preparing to leave but suddenly realised that he hadn’t asked me for the money to pay into this account, presumably because it was open already. I wondered what I was going to do about that.

Finally, there had been an airship that had crashed in north-west France. We’d gone out to investigate it. As we were investigating it we didn’t think that it looked quite right. We heard that somewhere along the route a pile of bodies and debris and everything had been found on top of a mountain along this airship’s route. Our immediate thought was that it had grounded out on some high point and ripped off the rear cabin. This was soon changed after a while when it seemed that the rear cabin had been in an explosion. A bomb had been planted aboard that had blown the rear cabin out and killed everyone in there whose bodies had fallen onto this mountain-top. Of course this had altered the handling capabilities of the airship and that was what had caused it to crash around where we were. We set off in a car to try to locate the spot where these bodies had been found. We were driving somewhere around the Chester way heading into North Wales. There was an old Ford Zodiac with a pile of aerials on it looking as if it was some kind of radio car that was in the hunt. We were heading into North Wales to carry on our quest for this first lot of human remains and so on into North Wales. There was something about someone had bought the site to erect a monument and the site had changed hands again and the new owner was trying to raise money for a monument.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was the break this afternoon for my walk, somewhat later than usual.

There wasn’t anyone down on the beach this afternoon, for the rather prosaic reason that there isn’t any beach for anyone to be on. The tide is right in now, up to the foot of the cliffs.

You can see what I meant yesterday about those people down there. It’s easy to be cut off from the steps that bring people up to the Rue du Nord.

There were very few people around on the path this afternoon so I had this part of my circuit at least pretty much to myself.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Along the path and across the car park I came to the end of the headland.

There were a couple of people down there looking as if they were taking a photograph of themselves standing on the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, photographs of people taking photographs is something that features quite often on these pages.

There weren’t any fishermen out there this afternoon on the rocks, and no boats in the bay either. It was all quite quiet as everyone begins to go into hibernation for the winter, which won’t be long a-coming.

le styx unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change at all in the chantier naval this afternoon – the portable boat lift was still parked up in the middle of the yard.

Over at the fish processing plant, we had one of the port’s trawlers, Le Styx, unloading over there onto the wharf. You can see one of the many electric cranes that they use to winch the loads up onto the top.

When she finished unloading, she cast off and pulled away from the plant, but I didn’t see where she went because I was moving off down the path towards home.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I walked past the place where I could look down on the workmen’s compound in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

That job that they are undertaking in the Rue Cambernon is taking its time. They must be doing a thorough job on it, whatever it is. I shall have to go down that way on Wednesday on my way to the physiotherapist in order to have a closer look.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my journal entry from Saturday and now that’s on line. There are just a huge pile of photos now to edit, and I’ll make a start on that tomorrow.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and it was delicious as usual. And now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a long day and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best. But no matter what I do, there’s little hope of that.

Sunday 13th June 2021 – SUNDAY IS …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… pizza day as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and so for the first time for several weeks, having been stranded in Leuven a couple of weeks ago and then having had visitors last weekend, I’ve been having pizza withdrawal symptoms.

And so I made myself a nice pizza today, and put on it a bit of everything that I had. And it was delicious too. A really good way to end a weekend in my opinion.

But no dessert tonight though. The pizza was quite filling and there was no more room left. And that’s just as well, for I didn’t fancy the rice pudding that was left anyway. That’s destined for the bin and for the remaining 2 nights that I’m here before I go off to Leuven I’ll drag some apple pie out of the freezer. There’s a ton of that in there.

This morning, the lie-in wasn’t as long as I would have liked. Or maybe it was because I’ve complained about some of these mega-lie-ins in the past. Being up and about by 09:25 is probably realistic.

Mind you there are some who disagree. I remember once when I was staying with a friend that I always liked a lie-in on Sunday. She replied “you can stay in bed until 09:00 if you like”. I remembered that I thought that round about 09:01 some sharp words would be spoken.

After the mountain of medication I came in here and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We started off with something going on last night about Liz’s chocolate cake and something or other involving music but I can’t remember what it was. It was another one of those things that when I awoke it disappeared completely from m mind, not that there’s much to hold it in these days.

At another time I was in a pub in Crewe – it might have been the Cheese Hall – talking to the barmaid, someone I knew. It might have been some girl with whom I worked at one time even. A guy (someone who was once a friend of mine and with whom she’d once gone out) came in and said to her “don’t think I’m prying or anything but have you seen anything of do-and-so?” and he mentioned a guy’s name. It turned out to be a guy who I got on well with fairly reasonably. She asked why and he replied “I didn’t want to say anything but he and I became champions of the George’s pools team on Monday night so of course we were all giving him our congratulations and there were the usual “how many people entered? Just two?” that kind of thing. We got talking and he was working on boats. He said how he would love to be working on cruises one day. That gave me an idea and I immediately, well, not signed him up but got him to be interested in a project that I was doing involving cruises and I was thinking of hiring the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. I can’t remember where I’d go with it but I’d get all of my friends as stewards and stewardesses and we’d go off and have a really good time like we did at the time of the institution.

I was at my sister’s in Canada. I’ve no idea what I was doing there. She was talking about changing jobs or she had a new job, something like that. As I was tidying things up, on the settee I came across a folder that was talking about her new job. I forgot myself and started to read it. I’s read about 2 pages before I realised that everyone else was in the room so I shut it and moved it. There was a black cat actually sitting in the fire and it was smoking so I had to move it away otherwise it would catch fire. My sister said something about le being on the settee so I had this pair of pliers in my hand so I showed her this pair of pliers that I said I’d pinched my hand with. I was thinking while I was there about getting a MIG-welding set so that I could start to weld up all of the vehicles that I had to repair. Then we were back again hunting for the vehicles that I’d dumped all round Crewe somewhere and wondering where they were and whether I should go and collect a few back.

That bit about having Ford Cortinas dumped all over Crewe was at one time a recurring dream but it’s one that I’ve not had for a little while.

The first mission for today, if I chose to accept it, was to defrost the fridge. The pizza dough is in the freezer compartment and that has all iced up and I can’t even open the little door, never mind get anything out. So I took most things out, put a towel at the bottom, switched it off and let nature do its bit.

Second task was one that I had been putting off for quite a while. as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been digitalising my record collection for the last 18 months or so. There are a good few cassettes that need recording digitally and I’ve yet to find a successful means to do it.

One thing that I tried was to couple up an old tape deck and run a line out into the Zoom H1 but that didn’t work all that well.

This morning I resurrected an old amp, connected all of that up (which involved no little amount of manipulation and even some tidying up). The net result of that was a set of pierced eardrums from the headphones that I was using.

So having ruled that out, I’m now back to the only other remaining idea that I have, of using one of the old laptops with a lead from the hifi in the other room.

I wish that I’d remembered to bring the old cassette player back from the Auvergne last year. I had such success with that years ago.

Giving the stack of ice in the fridge a prod every now and then, I next split up a few more LPs that I’d recorded a long time ago. Just a few more to go now and that task will be finished. Then there will only be the cassettes to deal with.

That took me up to lunch. And as usual these days I had porridge and a couple of slices of toast, followed by coffee.

Having spent the morning shuffling the music around and dealing with the fridge (all done with and finished now) this afternoon I’ve been attacking photos from August 2019.

And by the time I knocked off, I was actually standing with my feet in between some real waggon ruts from the 1840s and 50s right in the middle of South Pass – the “real” bit of South Pass where I was actually supposed to be.

From here, it’s all downhill to Winnipeg and then to Toronto where my Voyage of Destiny begins.

Right now, though, I’m going on my Voyage of Destiny outside the building.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, we have to go out and have a look at how things are doing on the beach this afternoon.

And sure enough, there were crowds of people down there too because today was the hottest day of the year so far and there was hardly any wind to speak of, which will come as a big surprise to most of you. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, this has been the windiest year that I can ever remember.

And in case you are wondering about the change in perspective of the photo today, I’m not at my usual spec down at he end of the car park. I’ve gone the other way round and I’m in the Rue du Nord heading off around the walls.

people swimming in medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a thing that will take many people by surprise.

Where those kids and other folk are swimming is actually in the old medieval fish trap. And that shows you that it’s still reasonably effective at what it does compared to more modern techniques because the concrete tidal swimming pool has drained itself of all of its water. Modern isn’t always best.

All that we can hope for is that some old medieval fishwife with a home-made trident doesn’t actually spear a small boy instead of a fish by mistake, or else another small boy doesn’t have his toe bitten by a crab that is bent on making good its escape before a fishwife can grab it.

people playing football sunbathing on beach plat gouseet Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route continued around the walls until I came to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset, where I could see what was going on down there.

That spec down there really is protected from the wind and so if the crowds were going to be anywhere today, that was where they would be. And I’m not wrong as we? We have some kind of informal football match going on on an impromptu pitch down by the diving platform (which has now been reinstated for the summer) and a few other private kick-abouts among the dozens of people sunning themselves.

But I have no time to stand and watch them. I’m pushing off around the corner and across the Square Maurice Marland to see what’s happening there.

seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I do is to have a look to see how the various families of seagulls and their chicks are going.

This little family was quite interesting and I spent quite an amount of time watching them. One seagull chick was being quite well-behaved but the other one was having quite a dispute or something with its mother and I wasn’t sure why. But when I saw them, the mother and chick were taking it in turns to chase each other around the roof here in the Rue Des Juifs.

The baby chick was giving its mother some nasty pecks in what I can only describe as some kind of teenage seagull angst. And I really ought to have stayed around to see how the situation developed.

seagull chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the other end of the Place Maurice Marland were a few more seagull chicks. And here, there seemed to be no parent in sight. It’s not like a seagull parent to fly off and leave the chicks unattended so this is rather an unusual situation.

What, however, seems to be a usual situation is the state of the place. There was some kind of campaigner campaigning about the previous mayor and how she had let the place become run-down.

But I wonder what our anonymous blogger has to say about the new mayor who not only has let the place deteriorate even more, but many of te kiddies’ amusements are blocked off and many of those that aren’t have been removed.

And at summer time too when the tourists are here.

crafts stalls rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInto the Rue Notre Dame I went, but I didn’t get very far before I was brought to a standstill by the crowds.

On my way into the old city I noticed that there were diversions everywhere and there were signs telling us that “an event” was taking place. And so there was too. It’s another one of these craft fair things where people sell the the most overpriced in-bad-taste articles at the kind of prices that would make even a Bond Street salesman blush.

For quie a while now I’ve been trying to find a nice seascape original to hang in my living room, but not at the kind of prices that they are asking here, even if I were to find anything half-decent, which is most unlikely.

craft stalls rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Place Cambernon and Rue Cambernon were lined with stalls too, but I wasn’t going to push my way down there with all of those people thronging around carrying God-alone-knows-what kind of virus with them.

And that was what appalled me, quite frankly. The Préfet of the département has decreed that face masks are compulsory until 30th June but you only have to look at this photo and the previous one to see that half of the people aren’t wearing them and of the other half, half of those aren’t wearing them properly.

Where are the authorities who are supposed to be enforcing this measure? I headed for home rapidly and my nice cold strawberry smoothie with ginger cake. And I’ve timed this hospital trip quite nicely because I’m right down on cake.

What else can I persuade the hospital to chop off so that Liz will feel sorry for me and bake another cake?

Anyway, having had tea and written my notes, I’m off to bed. I have the radio stuff to do tomorrow, followed by a visit to have a Covid test. It’s non-stop, isn’t it?

Friday 23rd October 2020 – ANOTHER FLAMING …

… shambles of a morning where I couldn’t find the energy to drag myself out of bed when the alarms went off.

That was despite having a relatively early night too. And nothing on the dictaphone either to disturb me. Although I do seem to remember something about hitting someone with a golf club so that he couldn’t take part in a competition in which I was competing, something like Tonya Harding, I suppose.

First task was then to finish off THE BLOG FROM YESTERDAY by adding in all of the photos that I took last night. And when I say “all of them”, I mean “all of them that survived the cull” because most of them ended up in the bin.

It was a very disappointing session last night.

Another thing that I did, which took up the rest of the morning, was a two-week course in “How To Create Great On-Line Content” from the University of Sheffield. I studied the course, took the exam at the end and ended up with a score of 80% and a certificate. Yes, the World’s my oyster now, isn’t it? And all in a couple of hours before lunch too!

This afternoon I attacked the outstanding 46 photos from August and now they are all done. Right on cue too.

woman swimming in sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving compeleted my day’s tasks, I went off for my afternoon walk.

Not as enthusiastically as this lady here, of course. She has come here to take the waters and that’s plainly evident by her actions in leaping into the sea. A braver man than I am, Gungha Din. I know that I’ve been it up to my knees 700 miles from the North Pole but I had a coat on at the time.

You wouldn’t get me doing what she’s doing, not for all the tea in China. I’m sure that I don’t need to repeat the discussion that I had with Castor and Pollux on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

light aeroplane Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallso instead I wandered off on my afternoon walk around the medieval walls of the old city.

Having seen someone in the water, several people on the beach and crowds of people around on the footpath, it only remained for me to see someone in the air and I would hit the jackpot. And sure enough, a light aeroplane from the airport at Donville-les-Bains duly obliged.

You are probably wondering why I didn’t include any of the scaffolders on the roof of the College Malraux or the house in the Rue St Jean as my aerial representatives, but the fact is that they had all cleared off and gone.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I’d been out at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord, I’d seen some movement out to sea near the Ile de Chausey.

My money was on it being one of the Joly France ferries coming back from the Ile de Chausey and as I came around the corner into the Square Maurice Marland, sure enough, she came around the headland and headed for the port entrance.

Unfortunately there were far too many people around so I couldn’t break out into a run. What with one thing and another, I run like a dromedary with dropsy and it’s not for public consumption.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time I reached the far side of the Square, Joly France was making her tight turn into the harbour entrance.

Down there on the left-hand side, there’s a current that swirls away at the silt and it’s worn a channel over there that is deeper than the rest of the harbour entrance. When the tide is quite low like it is at the moment, the boats need all the sea-room that they can get and even so, I’ve bumped along the bottom over there once or twice.

But she successfully negotiated the entrance and then went over to the ferry terminal to tie up and disgorge her passengers.

pallet loader loading onto trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, there were quite a few strange goings on in the harbour this afternoon.

A van and a trailer pulled up at the quayside and then a pallet loader came along and dropped some rectangular metallic object onto the trailer. And as well as that, there’s a huge pile of what looks like wood dumped in one of the gravel bins over there. That’s something else for me to keep an eye on in the future.

But not right now. I headed for home as I had plenty of things to do this afternoon.

So, what were my plans for this afternoon?

First of all, I had to feed the sourdough. And it was a mistake to tip the excess down the sink because it’s clearly working, extremely sour, and has stunk the place out to high heaven. The next step, probably the middle of next week when the current loaf is exhausted, is to try my hand at making a sourdough loaf.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several weeks ago, in the process of digitalising all of my music, I asked the question “could I record straight off the cassette unit of the old Hi-fi into the ZOOM H1 unit that I use for outside broadcasts when I’m out on the streets WITH THE RADIO.

Well, now I know the answer. And the answer is “yes, I can”. I tired it and it works. But not very successfully, unfortunately. There’s no output control on the cassette unit so it’s a tinny sound and it’s also overwhelming the recording level range of the machine. My next trick will be to dig out the old amp (which, as you might expect, is at the bottom of the pile so inaccessible for the moment) and run the cassette unit through the amp with the Zoom plugged into the headphone socket on there.

It’s a long and complicated process but in the end I’ll get there, I’m convinced of that.

The hour on the guitars was rather more interesting tonight. On the bass playlist a couple of Jimi Hendrix tracks came round. When I played in a group back in the mid-70s with Jon Dean and Dave Hudson we performed a few Hendrix numbers so I was reliving old times. But it’s depressing me because 45 years on and I can’t play the bass lines as rapidly as I used to be able to. So instead, I concentrated on singing.

That made me feel better, but I don’t think that anyone else within earshot did.

The half-hour on the 6-string, I just bashed out a few Lindisfarne numbers and then had a go at Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine”. That’s not going to be the work of five minutes either.

Tea tonight was a potato and veg curry out of the freezer followed by more of my delicious home-baked apple pie.

lights of St Malo Brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was another beautiful clear night out there tonight. Not across to the Channel Islands but down the Brittany coast it was marvellous.

But no tripod tonight. The gale-force winds that we were promised for Wednesday and Thursday that we didn’t receive have arrived this evening. Instead, you have to make do with a hand-held photo of the Brittany coast – but with the correct lens tonight.

That photo was taken with me leaning up against one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. A solid support but still plety of wind about. The tripod would never have worked here.

lights of St Malo Brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this is so much better, isn’t it?

No tripod, but a handy flat-topped stone pillar being used as a route marker was pressed into service. And with the timer delay and suitable long exposure I managed to conjure up this photo. And for an ad-hoc photo of the lights of Cancale on the left and St Malo on the right reflecting from the clouds, there have been much worse than this.

Happy with that, I continued along on my run along the clifftop down to my rest area at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was the view that I was hoping for last night that didn’t come out at all.

It’s a far cry from when we had 8 boats in there a few weeks ago, isn’t it? Now we’re just down to the one and that’s not a working boat either. It’s not the Spirit of Conrad, the one on which I went down the Brittany coast either. It has a wind turbine on the stern and that makes me pretty sure that I’ve seen her before.

From here I ran on back home and, to my surprise, without even thinking about it, I ran on a good 20 metres beyond my rest stop too – and uphill. I’m slowly getting myself back to fitness. It’s been a while and there’s still a long way to go too

Having written my notes, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow of course and I don’t need much because next weekend I’m off on my travels. I’m going early to Castle Anthrax because I have a few things to do in Leuven. That means that I have to do two radio programmes next week. Luckily one of them is a live concert and hey! Have I got something special for that?

But that’s not all. Schools are out, the holidays have started, the holidaymakers have arrived, and three cases of Covid reported in the town – one of which is apparently in the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs which, as everyone knows, is the building behind mine.

Friday 25th September 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… you were wondering – there has been a change in the weather.

It’s deteriorated.

You might not thnk so from looking at the photos but in fact these photos are taken at about the same time as yesterday, which means that the tide was half an hour or so lower than yesterday.

The wind was totally wicked, and just for the record, there was a gust of wind recorded during the night at 121 Km/H. It’s a good job that they dismantled the beach changing cabins earlier in the week.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt must have been the gust of wind that blew me out of bed this morning because by the time that the third alarm went off, I was already out of bed

And despite the fact that there was much less time in bed last night, I seem to have travelled quite far during the night.

We started off filming a western in the POWDER RIVER COUNTRY last night. There was a scene in it whereby the hero had to do something – travel a couple of hundred yards and do something on his horse and then get back to the main body of his troop and at the same time a group of native Americans was attacking him. There was this woman out in front. There were quite a few pages of plot line about this with speech and stage directions rather about how this was to be performed. But when we actually got round to performing it, there wasn’t really enough time to do these stage directions about how to handle the approach of these native Americans so in the end he did the basis of what he had to do and fled back to the main body. The natives led by this woman pursued him and was captured. It ended up being quite a different plot than the one that they were trying to film in the first place.

And I’m sure that there was much more than this, but I can’t remember it.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on last night I was at the football. TNS were playing and we must have arrived late because when I arrived, to my surprise they were already one goal down. A couple of minutes later someone passed the ball back to the keeper but it was one of these high balls that was bouncing around and then keeper had to trap it. But as the ball bounced to the ground is swerved with the spin and went into the back of the net (this brings back an unhappy memory of a match in which I played in goal 50 years ago) and TNS were 2-0 down. People couldn’t believe this so they had a look and it wasn’t the usual goalkeeper but some young lad they had in goal. As if TNS would ever concede two goals with Paul Harrison in goal.
Someone else counted the players and TNS only had 10 on the field so we began to wonder what on earth was going on here.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I’d been at school or college or somewhere. We were in a big room taking notes on something. It was something like a free study period. I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and there was a load of girls busy looking at maps. They kept on picking up these maps looking at them. In the end it was time that the lesson was over so they put these maps away. We all had to move off. I moved off behind a girl of mixed race with curly hair. There was some dry toast lying around so I picked up three or four slices to take with me to eat on the way. A few days later there was another free study period taking place outside. Everyone was sitting there around these little tables in this square surrounded by these old ruined houses. I found a vacant seat, sat down and started to look through my papers. I was feeling hungry so I was thinking of going to see if there was any food again. The guy sitting at our table facing me who had chosen his seat first – I mentioned to him that I was going to go. What I had also seen were some pictures of people jogging around in another square nearby. I thought that it was ages since I’d been jogging so I thought that I’d go and do some jogging and then get some food and then come back. This guy said to me “is your chair comfortable?” I replied “yes”. He said “you don’t mind if I sit in it for 10 minutes while you aren’t here. It’s a bit hot where I’m sitting”. I didn’t say much about that. I stood up and took my camera off the table. I noticed that there was a really nice cool breeze so we moved the table a little so that it would be in the centre of all this breeze

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallNow that the arrears have been dealt with, instead I carried on with some other work, of which there is more than enough.

Much of the morning was spent alternating between two tasks. Firstly, the photos from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad and also some rearranging of the kitchen. I alternated between one and the other as I became bored.

A pile of the photos bit the dust and I’m beginning to sense that I’m reaching the end of this batch (still plenty more batches to do though) of photos and all of the storage jars that I bought are now out of the bedroom and stacked on the shelves.

Some of them even have things in, and if that isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.

Even more exciting, a couple of weeks ago the metal retaining clip on an old one broke. And when I was sorting through the jars back in the Auvergne, I had a jar with a broken lid. So the idea was to fit the lid off the one with a broken clip onto the jar with the broken lid.

And if that sounds straightforward, it might be if I had a set or two of mole grips, because trying to keep two very strong spring metal clips in tension at the same time with your bare hands as you wrestle the one over the other is not easy.

At one point one of the clips soared off down the whole length of the apartment and it took me 20 minutes to find it. But it’s all done and assembled now, and I wonder what my next trick will be.

After lunch, I rekindled another old project of mine. Rewriting the web pages from the early days. I’m somewhere round by the Bay of Fundy in Canada at New Year’s Eve 2001/2002 and that’s making me so nostalgic you couldn’t imagine (or maybe you can). And I incorporated something from the course that I did a couple of weeks ago too.

While I was doing that I was continuing with the tidying up and also recording LPs with the USB turntable. Another 4 of those have gone the Way of the West.

But I’ve been giving more thought to the issue about the recording of cassettes. Knowing that my ZOOM H1 will record off the hi-fi via a direct line from the headphone socket, I wonder if it will record from the cassette unit from the old hi-fi stack via the RCA plugs and a suitable adapter.

There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe walk outside this afternoon was horrendous. So much so that I elected not to hang around too long. Particularly after my hat took off in a gust of wind and I had to run after it.

The waves were being whipped into a frenzy by the storm that was raging flat-out right now. Trying to walk up the path towards the lighthouse was incredibly difficult in the teeth of this howling gale.

Round the other side of the headland at least I had the wind behind me. And you saw for yourselves earlier what it was doing to the waves and the sea wall for the tidal harbour.

You can tell how bad it was out there too by the fact that I didn’t hang around to take a photo of the pathetic parking at the College Malraux.

After the guitar practice was tea. But before I mention that, I found myself spending my half-hour bass session working out the bass line to one particular song.

And writing it down too. Not in proper musical notation – that’s a bit too far – but I’m amazed that I can still remember something from that music course that I did earlier this year too.

place d'armes porte st jean eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a curry out of the fridge, followed by rice pudding. And then I took my life into my hands by going outside.

Here’s a photo that you don’t see too often. I notice that they’ve managed to find a shilling at the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou because at long last they’ve illuminated the church spire again.

The Porte St Jean is looking quite nice too in the dark and lit up by the floodlights. I have to say that this is a really nice area to live despite the wind.

buttress medieval city wallsgranville manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else about at all, which was hardly a surprise so I didn’t have much company tonight.

The wind on the footpath underneath the walls was swirling around something wicked and running was extremely difficult. I made it to my mark though, which much effort and on looking back behind me I could see one of the buttresses illuminated by the street lights from the street above.

Despite the headwinds, I managed my two other runs all the way back here – and not without some difficulty. Not simply because of the winds per se but also because of the overturned street furniture, panes of glass (some second-home owner is going to be in for a shock when he returns) and the like littering the place.

Still, what do you expect with winds gusting well over 100 Km/H?

It’s shopping tomorrow so I imagine that not only will we have the gale-force winds but also a driving rainstorm and plagues of locusts too.

We’re definitely heading for winter now.

Saturday 19th September 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Having spend some time today pondering upon the question of this little matter about recording my old cassette tapes, round about 15:00 this afternoon the light suddenly went on in my head.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a ZOOM H1 that I use for recording outside broadcasts for the radio. So this afternoon I went plugged the audio cable out of the headphone socket in the big hi-fi and into the mike socket of the Zoom.

The settings are a bit all over the place and I’ll have to be doing some kind of further research to improve the sound balance, but it’s already a great improvement on not being able to produce any sound.

But sometimes I really wonder however I managed to get so far in my life as I have done when I spend days trying to solve a problem when there is a simple solution like this at my fingertips.

You might also think that getting out of bed is a simple solution too, but it wasn’t today. It was another 07:30 start.

Mind you, it’s no surprise that I had such a lie-in because I’d been off on quite a considerable and lengthy voyage or three or four during the night.
There was another one of these little flighty girl-types of people and we were all somewhere in Crewe – the Nantwich Road end. We were all flirting around and I had a quiet little word with her because there was someone in our group who was’t particularly appropriate for her to meet.
abandoned Opel estate place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo this larking about went on but then there was some kind of issue about tidying things up and putting them away and so on. There had been an old Vauxhall estate abandoned on wasteland on Mill Street, like the one that’s been dumped outside here for a year or so, and that needed to be tidied away. They asked me if I could arrange that. I asked what was the deal – they replied “you take the vehicle, you can have it”. I said “I’m sure that I can arrange something”. I contacted a friend of mine and he said that he would come down to join me. In the meantime this girl was flirting and she ended up with another young guy. I had a little whisper in her ear about one or two things and she asked “is this the guy you were warning me about?”. I replied no it’s not. It’s actually the one who’ll be here in a minute. Anyway he turned up and he wasn’t in a car but on foot. He asked “where’s this vehicle that you want us to go and have a look at?”. We had to walk down some stairs into the foyer and he got on his radio. He had a police radio and he was radioing back to the police station about some guy who’d been seen prowling around. They eventually managed to track him down to some kind of street somewhere, not hanging around somewhere dangerous – and I awoke all hot and sweaty in a fever again.

The call had gone out to Wales for everyone to rise up on behalf of the Welsh monarch against the English one. This is one of those things where I’ve completely forgotten absolutely everything
Later on we were at University. I was with a couple of girls and someone came along to say that they had left something. They described accurately what one of these girls was wearing and they said that she came and sat here after they left. After much discussion debate and argument she went off to have a look in the clothes that she was wearing that morning to see whether she had it. I was having a chat with one or two of these girls who had come over. The subject was about the University, my friends and so on. The girl who had gone off, she said that she had to tell everyone that she was 21 but she was actually 15, one of these child prodigies who had gone off to University early but she didn’t really want to draw attention to herself. We were having a chat and one of these girls was being a bit forward, talking about a few racy subjects and I wasn’t sure if she was trying to lead me on somewhere so I replied in a non-committal kind of way but I was very interested to see where this discussion was going and that rings a very familiar bell, doesn’t it? Again all hot and sweaty.
I was with Liz and Terry and there was something happening about a racing car. There was no-one to drive it and they asked me if I would. I said yes even though I didn’t know how and we went off to this racing circuit. I don’t know what happened about the race but on the way back we stayed at this really posh hotel. I had to go out for a walk or something and there I met a woman with two girls, Germans. They were discussing different things I suppose about patriotism, whatever. The elder of the two girls, a little thin blonde probably about 10 or so was saying how proud she was of her country, all this thing, how proud she was of her navy, whatever. I overtook them walking back to the hotel. I walked past a house that wasn’t there any more. It had been redeveloped and a new house was built there. I remember one of my school friends having a house on that site and I used to go there regularly but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who it was. All these names came ticking through my head only to be ruled out. I got back to the hotel and these people were coming in. I had to help them over the patio wall into the main room – it was quicker than going all the way round to the door at the main entrance. They summoned the receptionist and there was confusion about the car machines, which one they had to use. These people were booked in. This blonde girl came over to me and said that she had lost my phone number and could I give it to her.

It’s hardly any surprise that I was so late getting out of bed after all of that.

After a shower and a general clean-up I went off to the shops. At NOZ the prize was a beautiful olde-worlde porcelain mixing bowl to replace the smaller metal one that I’ve been using.

It’s becoming quite professional in here now.

cars parking at electric charging bay leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages.

Here’s some more from the car park of LeClerc and this is something that’s going to cause a big problem in the future. The supermarket was heaving today – I’ve never seen it so busy – and parking was at a premium.

The charging bays for the electric vehicles are close to the entrance so two motorists have taken it upon themselves to park in them rather than out in the wilderness.

Purists may argue that one of them (if not both) is an electric vehicle but neither of them is plugged in. And as there are only four charging points at the supermarket, that’s 50% of the potential capacity blocked off for no good reason.

It makes me wonder how long it will be before we start to see the warning notices like we see at disabled bays.

Despite the crowds in the supermarket and the fact that they had run out of my favourite traditional Saturday baguette, I was in and out in half an hour.

Mind you, I’d forgotten my bread flour and one or two other things too, but nothing that I can’t live without. And they had no frozen broccoli either.

Such an exciting life I lead when an absence of frozen broccoli in the supermarket makes headline news.

Back here I attacked a couple more of the arrears and that’s becoming even more manageable now. And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair. The excitement of finding no frozen broccoli in the supermarket is clearly proving too much for me.

After a late lunch I recorded a few more albums from the USB turntable and then had a session with the Zoom.

I was pleased that at last I’ve been able to digitalise probably the rarest record in my whole collection. I’ve seen the value (not that it means very much of course) of some of my records being in the thousands, when they are available, but what would be the price of the only rock LP (of the early 70s of course) being sung in the native Greenlandic Inuit language?

That’ll make my listeners sit up a little. They are still struggling to come to terms with rock music sung in Scots Gaelic. They can’t say that they aren’t having their money’s worth, considering that they are getting it all for free.

low tide out baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric halllater on I went out for the football.

By now, the tide is well out on one of the lowest-tide days of the year and you can see now how far it goes out when it has a mind to. When it’s right in, you can see the tide mark on the harbour wall to the right of centre.

On my way through town I bumped into Maryline from the radio – she who does the film and cinema programmes – and we had a chat for five minutes or so before, in the best traditions of the late lamented News of the World, “I made my excuses and left”.

football stade louis dior sm caen us granville manche normandy france eric hallSM Caen must have been kicking themselves tonight on the way back home from the Stade Louis Dior.

On several occasions they carved their way through the Granville defence like a hot knife through butter but their finishing was even worse than Granville’s, who never ever looked like scoring if they were still playing now.

Nevertheless it was an exciting match as you never knew who was going to be the next to kick the ball into the keeper’s arms when in a one-on-one situation or to completely miss connecting with the ball when presented with a free header on an open goal.

And it all turned up on its head with 4 minutes to go when a Granville player was brought down in the Caen penalty area. For once, Granville managed to find the back of the net.

But after all of the chances that Caen had, they must have been totally devastated to lose a game to Granville like this when they should have been out of sight and down the road a long time before half-time.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back home I noticed the crowds of people loitering around the harbour so I went to see what was going on.

Actually, I had an educated guess seeing as on the way out to the shops this morning I saw Marité heading out of the harbour and across the bay, and that her berth was empty when I went out earlier to the football.

And sure enough, into the harbour, full sail ahead, came Marité, heading for her berth again.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe had quite a crowd of people on board, and I’m not quite sure how she managed that, as regular readers of this rubbish will well recall the issues that I’ve had with the personnel who operate her.

A more unfriendly bunch of “customer service” people I have yet to meet. They actually make Belgian shop assistants sound friendly.

But nevertheless, it makes quite a magnificent impression when the old Newfoundland cod-fisher is out there with all of her sails out in a full gale.

Even manoeuvring into the harbour is quite an impressive sight, as the crowds out there watching it will testify.

yacht baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe wasn’t the only large boat out there heading for home on the evening tide.

This one that I vaguely saw in the gloom (in a heavily-lightened photo) was also heading into harbour. When I first noticed it I thought that it might have been la Granvillaise but even with having thrown plenty of light onto the subject, I stil can’t say.

Back here, it was tea out of a tin and then time for more football. In the Welsh Premier League, or the JD Cymru League as it’s now called, Newtown who have been misfiring during the season so far were away at newly-promoted Haverforwest County.

Haverfordwest have a beautiful, modern little ground thanks to a good deal with a local supermarket who bought their old ground from them, but the team has never had any particular success. They survived relegation from the WPL for several seasons due to lack of suitable promotion candidates or due to licensing issues of other clubs but they fell out of the league a few seasons ago – 2016 if I remember correctly – and have gradually clawed their way back.

They are another team who I haven’t seen so far so i was looking forward to this game.

And the match was particularly interesting. Newtown were the quickest out of the blocks and looked the better side, but Haverforwest, having signed the cream of the second tier, looked nothing like the patchwork team that they were said to be and in fact actually played more like a team than Newtown’s experienced regulars.

The final score, 2-2, was a fair reflection of the match and while Haverfordwest are not going to set the league alight this season, Newtown are going to have to be doing some rather serious looking over their shoulder. Even after three matches, they are adrift at the foot of the table and that’s not a very comfortable position for one of the only two teams who have been in the WPL for its entire existence.

But now it’s late and I’m tired. Far too tired to write up my notes so I’ll have to do that in the morning instead.

Monday 17th February 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that last week at our weekly meeting I was about half an inch from … errr … expressing my displeasure at the antics of a certain member of our team.

It seems that i was not alone because every one of us today received an e-mail from a member of our team announcing that he was standing down, and explaining in great detail exactly why. And these reasons correspond pretty much with my own ideas.

There is another reason, as I became aware on Saturday when I went for this press thingy with the chars for Carnaval, but that wasn’t mentioned at all which is hardly a surprise. But it’s what I expect is the real reason.

As for me, I missed the third alarm yet again, but not by all that much. 10 minutes or so, I reckon.

After the meds I came back to check on the dictaphone. And phew!

For some unknown reason I was in Burnley last night and I was taking an exam. It was about decimalisation and I had to write about decimalisation in this exam. I wanted to have ot done quickly so I could go. And I did it quickly. But just before I went to hand in my paper I suddenly remembered something that I had missed off so I had to add an extra paragraph onto my paper and add an extra conclusion. And then as I had done that which I had to write, I remembered something else about how easier it would be to calculate so I had to write another paragraph about that as well and another conclusion. But each time all the papers were getting muddled up and I couldn’t find half the papers. And then I couldn’t find more papers. There was this little girl trying to help me find the papers. In the end we were just disturbing everything but a little boy said “this paper is over here” so I went into one pile of papers and got one of the papers out. This was all getting into one confusing mess and just as usual, I was spending more time looking for the papers than I was writing anything down. My idea of getting away early had gone right out of the window by now.
Later on during the night I was at IKEA with Ingrid and a baby believe it or not. We started to wander around the introductory bit of the shop where everything is displayed but we somehow became separated. I went back to look for her but found the bargains corner so got waylaid in there looking through all the bargains. By the time I’d made it back into the display area Ingrid had gone and I couldn’t see her anywhere. I had a pretty good look for her and caught her in the distance waiting by a meeting point so I got my phone to ring her, gave her a couple of bleeps, she turned round and waved so I hung up and walked over to her. Then another family group, I was talking over the internet in a chat room and mentioned my daughter in this chat room twice so I was kicked out with a warning message about “talking about my daughter” on there.

After breakfast I came back in here and cut up a few digital music files into their component tracks and seeing as I picked three easy ones, it didn’t take that long to do

A shower next, (and I’ve put back about 400 grammes of that 600 that I lost) and then I headed off into town.

bad parking cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst port of call was the Post Office to post the letter that I had written the other day.

But start as we mean to go on, hey? Back on this bad parking lark again. But then, why just take up one parking space when with a little less effort you can take up three as well as block off a pedestrian crossing?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that this is the kind of thing that really gets my goat and it’s just becoming worse and worse.

erecting carnival marquee cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallBut for the next few weeks parking here in the centre of town will be more and more restricted.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be wandering around checking up on the erection of the Carnaval attractions, seeing how quickly they can get them up. And here on the car park at the Cours Jonville, they have ejected all of the cars and are sticking this marquee up for the Friday night dance.

That’s when it al kicks off, Friday night, but my work doesn’t start until Saturday.

boutique ludique cafe boulevard d'Hauteserve granville manche normandy france eric hallWith having come this way to check up on things, I carried on up the boulevard d’Hauteserve, a street that I don’t usually use.

And i’m glad that I came this way because here’s something that I haven’t noticed before. It’s a “Boutique Ludique” – a games shop café. And that could be extremely interesting.

Next time that I have half an hour or so to spare – whenever that may be – I’ll have to come here to make further enquiries.

And if it livs up to its title, I’ll bring my microphone and Zoom H1 because there must be some kind of story in this.

painting street furniture st nicolas granville manche normandy france eric hallThe walk all the way up to the Centre Agora was pretty uneventful with nothing much happening – except that I seemed to be a little more like my former self going up the hill. Not quite at the “on my way to invade Poland” yet, but getting there.

In the Square St Nicolas or whatever they call it, the street furniture guys were there. We saw them a few days ago in the Cours Jonville but we couldn’t see what they were doing. But here it was pretty evident.

Our meeting was somewhat subdued with the news that we had received, and when we were asked for our observations I wasted no time in putting forward the things that have been bugging me in this affair and telling them the things that I’ve been telling you lot over the last few weeks.

Whether anything comes of it or not, I really do not know. But I have heard that there has been a “follow-up” to all of this, so I’m awaiting developments with bated breath.

After the meeting we went down to the basement and did a stock-check. There is some kind of talk about some kind of offer of some kind of permanent place to use as a studio and store.

What, when, how or where – or even “if” – is very much an unknown factor but we need to know what we have. And it seems that somehow we are a microphone cable short.

No idea how, and I know that I don’t have it. But then things like this are always disappearing so it’s no surprise.

After the meeting I went off to LIDL to do a little more shopping.

soya desserts lidl granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd although I spent a little more than usual, on some cable ties and Brazil nuts, I didn’t buy any of this here but six months or so ago I might well have.

Last time I was here I pointed out the new vegetarian and vegan products that are appearing in LIDL, and this is the latest that I have found.

I would have died for this stuff back then but having given up hope of finding it, I’ve gone down a different road and buy the big tubs of Alpro stuff for dessert and make my own apple purée.

And that reminds me – I need to make some more purée tomorrow. So I bought a big bag of apples.

erecting funfair fete foraine parking herel granville manche normandy france eric hallYesterday I mentioned about going round to see how they are getting on erecting the amusements for the fete foraine on the parking Hérel.

Earlier today, we saw the marquee at the Cours Jonville and I expected them thus to be well on their way here too. And I was right because they really are bashing it out.

No time to lose, I suppose. They can’t afford to be hanging about seeing as how they move from place to place quite rapidly wherever there’s a fairground to be installed.

erecting funfair fete foraine parking herel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere are all kinds of amusements here – fun for all the family I reckon – but I don’t really know what’s in these lorries.

Time will tell of course so I’ll have a wander by tomorrow when I come down for my dejeunette and see what they are up to then.

But talking of my dejeunette I carried on with my walk into town and La Mie Caline. I don’t need to ask for my bread now – they just see me coming and slip a dejeunette into a bag all ready for me.

Service with a smile, that. You don’t get that in Belgium.

road closed place des corsaires granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back home there wal a little more excitement.

The road that goes through what used to be the Place des Corsaires seems to be closed and they are digging up the street. I wonder why – and there was no-one around to ask.

Back here it was already after my usual lunchtime so I quickly made my butty and had some fruit – the new apples, not the old ones. They are destined for the purée tomorrow.

And I’ll try out my new saucepan too.

This afternoon I attacked the radio project 26. “Where”s 25?” I hear you ask.

The fact is that 24 has now become 25 because 24 is the last Friday of a month (Bane of Britain forgot that there are only 30 days in April) so that will have to be a Live Concert, if I have one by then.

If not, I’m sure that I’ll find something.

By the time that I knocked off I’d chosen the 10 main tracks, combined them in pairs, worked out a speech for my guest and added in my standard into to Pair A.

Tomorrow I’ll do the text and see where we go from there.

Tea was falafel and steamed vegetables in vegan cheese sauce – not the pie because I wanted to use up the falafel that has been hanging around for a while.

Pie is tomorrow and stuffed pepper is on Wednesday by the way.

Pudding was half of the apple turnover with that Alpro almond dessert stuff and chocolate sauce, and that was delicious.

The beautiful weather that we had this morning has given way to a rainstorm this evening. I didn’t have my afternoon walk because I was already at 106% but I wanted to get in my runs.

So sopping wet and miserable, I completed them both, although the first was on my reserve track as my main one was flooded out again. In fact I did quite well on my first one, running on for about 20 metres which, the way things are with me, was quite good.

bad parking place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, we had more excitement and so we’ll go out where we came in.

Bad parking again, folks. Someone else who decides that it will be fun to park in the fire lane at te back of our building despite the yellow hatching. never mind that we’ll all be burnt to a cinder because he is far too idle to walk an extra 20 metres from the main car park.

So now my notes are written and i’m off to bed. Not as early as I wanted but still I should have about 6 hours sleep I reckon.

makes me wonder where I’ll be going tonight. And, more importantly, who is coming with me.

Sunday 9th February 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

waves storm ciara baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall … the effects of Storm Ciara as the waves come crashing down onto the harbour wall here this afternoon, a good couple of hours before High Tide too, let me tell you a little about my day today.

With it being a Sunday of course, there was no alarm call. And I wasn’t in any great rush to go to bed last night either (not that it was late by any recent standard) but I was still hoping to have a pretty decent sleep.

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t really meant to be, was it?

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne glance at the dictaphone was enough to tell me that.

There were files on there that had been dictated at 04:25; 04:48 and 05:27 and all of that points to a very disturbed sleep. And while I finally awoke at about 09:30, it was still another 20 minutes before I could haul myself out of bed.

After the medication I attacked the digital file-splitting project. And I was right when I thought to myself that this seems to bear no relation to what I knew of the album, because it isn’t the album that it’s supposed to be.

Heaven alone knows what it is because it features three tracks that I don’t recognise at all and I wouldn’t even bet that it was the singer who it was supposed to be either.

And even worse, I can’t find any mention of the lyrics anywhere on the internet, which is even more strange.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I set about looking at the notes on the dictaphone. And I wish that I hadn’t because they are all somewhat confusing to say the least.

To begin with, I’d received a huge packet of envelopes through the post and one of them -I can’t remember what it was about – but it was really complicated stuff giving me all kinds of information that I didn’t really need and inviting me to do things and be things, so on. The next day I got another letter from a different source saying “be a travel agent” this was and it was a quote for a life assurance, like £36,000 and a bit of insurance for this and a bit of insurance for that and how I would have to make payment for this. Of course I had no intention of making any payment for life assurance as my life is on its way out so I was sitting there trying to work out a way how I could decline this offer and not take it up because it seemed for some unknown reason to be pretty binding and I don’t know why. It had something to do with a voyage I was making with Liz and Terry and we had to go to a club in somewhere like Wrenbury. We left Crewe – we were in Nantwich Road and for some reason I took them down Wistaston Road and out past the park and down the Middlewich Road into Nantwich. They were wondering why I’d gone that way and I said that there’s far less traffic this way and they didn’t understand because it was longer. I said “trust me” and they replied that they had trusted me the last time about this and you’ve brought us this way again. I said “yes but we got there and we got there fine didn’t we?” so I didn’t see a problem. We were going to a party or something and it was in a pub. I asked “is there something like a separate room or a quiet room or something ebcause I don’t really feel like mixing wiht a lot of people and making a lot of noise” They said “yes, you’ll enjoy it and it’s one of the reasons why we go there because there are other things to be doing as well”

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA little later, there was a concert or something due to take place about the blues or somewhere like that and I know that I had to go there and I was trying to think of a way out of it. There was something about us being on board ship as well and there was a girl here with a very long plaited pigtail-ponytail thing and that’s all I remember about this.

Later still, I’d received an invitation to go and take part in some research on this animal scientific centre out near Wrenbury (… why Wrenbury all of a sudden? …). I wasn’t very sure about this. Everyone was saying what a really good opportunity this is because it’s one of the market leaders in this kind of field. But being vegan I was pretty much opposed to it yet everyone was saying what a great opportunity this might be for me.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd finally, we were on a bus, me George and someone else, it might have been Darren dunno. We were heading towards the French coast and – a tram, not a bus – and the tram was rattly and crowded and people were gradually getting off as we got lighter. I was having a chat to this George character about nothing in particular. At one moment we came round a bend and there was a beautiful view of the port and the ships in it at Ouistreham, all of this. I went to get my camera but by the time that I got myself organised the vuew had gone. Just the canals and the barges on them like Chausiais. I didn’t get a photo of those. As we came round a corner where there was an abandoned railway station with hoardings outside all covered in fly-posting. I thought “Ahhh I know where I am now”. We got off the tram and whoever was the third person came up behind us on a bicycle. They were having a conversation and they asked “what did I think?”. I hadn’t heard the conversation so I said “I don’t know – I haven’t heard it” so they started talking again about Valentines Cards. How many Valentine’s cards do you buy? I replied “as many as you need”. They replied “you just buy one don’t you, for people you like?” I said “and what about the people you love?” They replied that you don’t need a Valentine’s card for them because they know it already. I replied “you should never take people for granted, especially women” but they disagreed with me. In the meantime I was trying to do something with the lends of my camera. I’d put some glue on it to hold something on but it had come off and I was trying to get all of this pink glue off my camera where I had this lens attached

waves storm ciara port de granville harbourmanche normandy france eric hallAs you can see, that took up the greater part of the morning and a little chat with Liz on the internet took care of the rest.

Luckily I had made myself a pot of coffee so I was able to keep on topping myself up throughout the morning as I was going on.

And I needed it too because despite the lengthy sleep, I was creaking away and ready to drop off at the drop of a hat.

trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later than I was expecting or hoping, I went for my walk into town for my bread.

And never mind “walk”. It was more like “crawl” in this wicked wind that was blowing. Nevertheless I made it down to the chantier navale to see what was going on.

And there’s another boat in there now, next to the mobile sling. One of the trawler-type of fishing boats that operate from out of the port here. So things are looking up.

trawler fishing boat waves port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut to give you some idea of how strong the wind was, there wasn’t a single boat out that I could see. They were all moored up in port.

And look at the waves that are chopping around them too. They ave to be at least one foot-waves, and you have to remember that the tide is out and the harbour gates are too.

So those waves are building up in just the wind and in a run of a couple of hundred metres.

Imagine what it must be like out in the open sea.

trench port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that they have been digging a trench on the quayside for the past week or two.

Despite the fact that it’s a Sunday and there would be no-one around, I went for a look to see what was going on. And that was a waste of time because I couldn’t see much. Whatever they have been doing is finished and the trench is now filled in.

Still, if there’s someone around during the week I can also ask him

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing on which I have been musing is the situation re Chausiais.

As far as I could tell, there didn’t seem the capacity to take a lot of stuff aboard so I was intrigued to see how she was arranged. I had vowed next time that I was passing to take a closer look.

And I can now see what the score is and how she is arranged. If you look closely you’ll see that the roof is divided into sections and they slide back one underneath the other to make a big open space for goods.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire a few more storm photos, I picked up my bread from La Mie Caline, came back here and had my lunch. The last of the smoked cheese so I fetched some home-made hummus out of the freezer.

Having eaten, I went back into my office to finish off the notes for the radio project on which I’m working. And unfortunately I couldn’t keep going for long.

In fact I crashed out a couple of times and that really annoyed me because I seem to be getting worse and worse from that point of view

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMind you, a couple of coffees brought me round and I did manage to remain awake long enough to finish them.

There seems to be quite a few too, more than the usual so I hope that they will edit down to a more manageable size. These days I seem to be letting myself be carried away by my verbosity and that’s not good.

Still, I suppose that it’s better than not saying enough. At least it gives my listeners a little break to go to the bathroom.

surfer crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the winds, I headed off for my walk – around the city walls this afternoon.

And surprisingly, there were a lot of people out there this afternoon despite the weather. A few people down on the beach, including one rather intrepid soul carrying his surfboard.

With there being lots of people about, I didn’t manage to fit in any runs either which was disappointing. I’ll never improve at this rate.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the urge to push on and do 100% every day as often as possible, I extended my walk out along the headlands.

There were crowds of people standing on the cliffs watching the waves from Storm Ciara smashing their way into the harbour wall so I went and joined them.

And with the trusty NIKON D500 I could take plenty of photos to record the occasion, because it was definitely one of those days

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll in all, I stayed out there admiring the waves and then came back to my apartment.

First thing that I did was to dictate the notes onto the new ZOOM H1 and then copy them over to the computer for editing.

Ten minutes to the second, there are, but that lot needs quite some editing. And by the time that I’d knocked off for tea, I’d reviewed about 60% and got it down to 07:20, which is good going.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallEven if it were to stay as it was, a final track of about 3:00 would fit in nicely, but I can reduce the amount of discussion by another minute or so at least.

On that note I knocked off for tea. I prepared a rice pudding and put it in the oven while I made the pizza, and then took the rice pudding out when I put the pizza in.

Ohhh! For two shelves in my oven. I really must look into this and see what I can do about inventing something to work as a second shelf.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe pizza was really delicious and so was the rice pudding. And then I braved the elements for the evening walk around the headland.

And brave it was too because the wind was thoroughly wicked. It was a struggle to open the front door, never mind to go outside in it. And once I did make it outside, every step was a struggle.

There were times when I was in a mind to turn back but I pressed on regardless to see what I could do in the weather. It wasn’t easy.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the south side of the headland it was relatively sheltered so I went for my run.

And that was what I called “agony”. Only pride kept me going, I reckon, and I had to sit on the wall for five minutes afterwards to catch my breath as I couldn’t move.

So now I’m back here, finishing off my notes and regardless of the fact that there are still things that need doing, I’m going to bed.

I really am on my last legs and it’s a long walk tomorrow. You can admire the rest of the photos while I curl up in bed.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

Monday 20th January 2020 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

carnaval 2020 rue paul poirier couraye granville manche normandy france eric hall… they are getting ready for Carnaval right now.

The one big event of the year here in Granville is the annual Carnaval. We’ve seen THIS TAKE PLACE BEFORE in previous years and this year it’s the period 21-26 February.

And so on my way out up town I noticed that while they were taking down the Christmas lights, they were also putting up the bunting and the location points for this year’s Carnaval in the rue Paul Poirier and the rue Couraye.

This year is passing by quicker than anyone thinks.

Last night, I had a frantic search around for my telephone before going to bed. I couldn’t find it at all and I needed it for the alarm. Eventually, after phoning myself up, I managed to locate it and I could go to bed in peace of mind.

Not that I needed it though. I was wide awake at 05:30 for some reason that I haven’t quite understood, and up and medicating when the alarm went off.

With just a brief pause for breakfast, I bashed on with my editing of the interview that I had had with US Granville’s Chief Coach and I finished it just about. 8:30 of question and answer there was, and it’s not too bad.

There was also time to look at the dictaphone and I had indeed been off on a voyage here and there. There was an OUSA meeting taking place in the USA so off I went. I was in this town looking at all of the food shops and saying to myself “God how I love being in the USA with all of this food on offer here, all of these bakeries and all of these things even though I can’t eat any of it”. The a girl came out – a young girl with glasses and she had a limp, something like that as if she had had polio and I recognised her. She was a student at the Open University … “no she wasn’t” – ed. We ended up having quite a chat and she was saying how she wished she could go to this Conference and so on and for some unknown reason I couldn’t get out of my head the phrase “give me your e-mail address and I’ll add you onto my mailing list”. I could have sent her loads of stuff and could have developed some kind of relationship with her, I suppose.
A little later on there was a group of us in a house and amongst these people was, of all people, someone who has made a dramatic appearance in my life just now … “it didn’t take her long to come a-voyaging with you, did it?” – ed … my brother and a few other people. It was my house in Gainsborough Road and the back part of the back garden was overgrown in weeds and we ended up having a game of cricket. I was the first to go into bat for my team which was my family and the aforementioned person was going along to bowl for her side. I took guard at the entrance to my house and she decided to bowl up the hill Clifton Avenue. She bowled an over that went nowhere near my bat so I couldn’t hit it and score any runs. She went off to get someone else to take over and I was thinking that I hadn’t even asked my family if they wanted to play yet. They would probably tell me to clear off. Anyway that’s how that ended.

Once I’d done that I had a shower and then headed off for my radio meeting, saying “hello” to the builder guy with the cement conveyor as I passed.

It seems that having done the radio programme for MY VERSAILLES TRIP totally alone and unaided from start to finish, I’ve trampled upon an ego here and there because not a single person said anything about it at all – despite the fact that it’s the second most-listened-to podcast that we’ve ever broadcast.

But they can’t be too dismissive because they told me that my interview with Johan Gallon will be broadcast TOMORROW (TUESDAY) AT 17:00 CET (that’s 16:00 UK time, 11:00 Toronto time).

Having worked my feet into the door now, I’ve suggested one or two more things that have been accepted, and there are a couple more that I have simmering away on the back burner.

Bhere was a huge dispute at the meeting about someone’s plan. The idea is to present the “Top 10 of the decade” films, music, TV programme, books etc. The plan is to ask the Literary correspondent, Music correspondent etc to suggest their choices.

A dissenter or two however suggested that everyone on the committee put forward their Top 10 and we have a poll.

No-one was interested in my opinion so I went for a ride on the porcelain horse while they fought it out. But in my humble … “quite!” – ed … opinion they are all wrong. People don’t listen to the radio to hear other people, they listen to hear themselves.

Had it been me organising this, I would have announced that I would be at a Saturday market on one weekend (say the 1st in the month) – then a Brocante the next 1st weekend of the month, a football match at another. anywhere where there is a crowd of people, and then interviewed members of the public to ask them.

Now that’s good radio. You never know what responses you are going to receive and some of them will be absolute gems as my Versailles programme proved. But no-one listens to an idiot, do they?

On the way back I stopped off at LIDL for the shopping where I forgot the bananas and something else that I can’t now remember what it was.

saviem sm6 rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd picking up my dejeunette at la Mie Caline, I came home. Not straight home though because I was sidetracked.

This vehicle is telling us that it’s a Saviem, and on the front wing is a badge telling us that it’s a Saviem SM6. Now as far as I’m aware (and I may be wrong) Saviem was absorbed by Renault and the marque was dropped some time round about the late 80s, and this vehicle is clearly later than that.

Furthermore, the SM6 was a medium-range lorry of about 7.5 tonnes and this certainly isn’t. And so I’ve no idea at all about this.

Having spent so long at this meeting, it was lunchtime already so I grabbed my butties while the grabbing was good.

After lunch, it was time to turn my attention to the radio projects. I’d offered a “live concert spot” to someone but he never came back to me so I resurrected a concert that I’d broadcast in the past.

That took much longer than intended too because you’ve no idea how difficult it is to write 3:07 of text when you only have the sketchiest of information. But at least it’s a foot in the door because I wrote to tell the agents of the artist that the concert was being broadcast and I invited them to send me some more stuff from some more of their artists for broadcast if they like.

Next month’s concert, if this guy still hasn’t got back to me, will involve some German input and I have a cunning plan.

Another reason for the delay was that I was using the new ZOOM H1 dictaphone that I bought. It took an age to configure it and an even greater age to find a memory card that would work in it (one out of five) and an even greater greater age to get it to work, but when I finally did, the quality is miles better than anything that has gone before.

As a result, I’m really impressed with this – almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

trawler english channel ile de chausey 	granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break for my afternoon walk. The high winds are back again and so there weren’t all that many people out there.

There was plenty of activity out there on the ocean waves though. The tide is quite high but nevertheless there were still several trawlers heading towards the harbour.

This one here for example, just sailing … “dieseling” – ed … in past the Ile de Chausey.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was another whitish blob right out there in the distance somewhere in the direction of the Channel islands.

Thinking that it might be Thora or Normandy Trader on its way into the harbour, I took a photo of it with the intention of blowing it up, because, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation, I can still do things like that.

But it’s actually another trawler heading into the harbour to unload its catch.

trawler baie de mont st michel entrance light port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd that’s not all either.

There’s another one that’s even closer to home0 It’s rounded the Pointe du Roc and it’s now in the Baie de Mont St Michel on its way into port. Right now it’s just passing by the marker light that indicates the entrance to the port.

Yes, it’s all go out there this afternoon with these trawlers coming home.

customs inspection boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut there’s clearly been some excitement today somewhere because we have rather an unusual visitor in port.

This is one of the Customs launches and I don’t recall having seen one in here today. And there’s no traffic of any kind in port today – especially not over there by where he is moored – that might warrant the kind of attention that he would bring

So I dunno what’s going on with him, and I wasn’t about to go down there and ask him. I came back home instead.

Once I’d finished the radio programme I made tea. There was one of those vegan galette things left over so I had that with rice and veg and a thick onion gravy.

For my evening walk it was freezing outside and I was alone. So I managed my two runs again. But seriously, I didn’t see a single soul out there tonight.

Rosemary rang up when I returned home and we had a really long chat that went on for almost 2 hours – hence I’m running very late and things that I planned to do won’t be done yet again.

So a very late night tonight. I’m taking one pace forward, and ending up two paces behind.

And the apple pie was delicious.